Gay Marriage Cases: Government Should Get Out of Marriage Altogether


On Tuesday, March 26, the Supreme Court heard what many consider a landmark case over California’s Prop 8. Emotions run deep on the issue, and this column is sure to spark a furious debate over the stance it takes. Nobody deserves marriage equality, and should the government strike down Prop 8 and add "marriage" to the penumbra of rights that exist under the United States Constitution, our country is taking a step in the wrong direction. The state has no business whatsoever providing approval for your relationship whatsoever in the form of a marriage license. 

Prior to the 1500s, it is difficult to even find records regarding marriage. Ancient Greece favored the "institution" of marriage, but didn’t necessarily involve the state in the function of establishing or dissolving marriage unions. The practice was not a highly formalized process either religiously or civilly. It wasn’t until after the state began to formalize the process that restrictive marriage policies began to take shape, and subsequently, the state became involved as part of the religious reformations.  Whether the state or religion had ultimate authority was actually nothing more than an extension of the debate over religious reformation.

Marriage is by its very definition and context an institution that cannot be effectively policed by the state to begin with. From a religious perspective, the state cannot effectively administer what amounts to a bond before the eyes of God. From a personal perspective, how do you effectively legislate the legal requirements for expressing "love" for another person (or "hate" for that matter)?  Look at the complexity of divorce in this country and how horrible they are on families. Simply put, the entire issue of marriage is one that is made ever more complex by the involvement of the state.  Given the federal system of United States, that means fifty different legal codes that all have to interact with each other under the Constitution.

I once heard someone say, "Right now, it’s exceedingly easy to get married but impossible to get divorced without traumatic consequences. It should be the opposite.”  The Supreme Court would do well to not only oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage, it would do even better to remove the state from the institution altogether.  To that end, a clear decision regarding the case before the Supreme Court over Proposition 8 would indicate the state’s role is to provide a venue to hear contractual disputes and leave marriage to private society. In the end, that would likely mean both conservatives and liberals would join hands in opposing the decision that would come out of the court.  And, think of that, political foes coming together …

… you said it couldn’t be done.